I love cooking on cast iron. There’s something about it that takes me back to a simpler time when cooking meant getting involved with your food. At the risk of overly romanticizing it, I believe that cast iron holds the memory of everything you’ve cooked on it and brings that memory to the party every time you cook on it. It’s little wonder that people treasure their well seasoned cast iron cookware and look at Teflon with at least a measure of disdain.
The reason more people don’t cook with cast iron, I believe, is that they feel it’s “high maintenance” and are put off by the task of cleaning it. Certainly, cleaning cast iron can be be a serious pain. I’ve tried a few different cast iron cleaners — the bamboo cleaner by Michael Ruhlman, the chain mail cleaner by Knapp, and most recently, The Ringer by Quiverr.
After purchasing The Ringer, I had an opportunity to have an email exchange with Quiverr’s founder, Ryan Mulvany. Ryan recognized that there was a growing market of cast iron enthusiasts and the need to create a product that would take away the burden of cleaning cookware. In October 2013, Quiverr introduced The Ringer after gathering a lot of feedback from the potential customer base. Since The Ringer’s release, customers have found that it works just as well cleaning steel pans, sinks, glassware, grills and more.
I put The Ringer to the test on a pan that I had used to cook a cheeseburger and a skillet that I had used to cook some rib-eyes. Both had sat around for a couple of days and were thoroughly crusted up. How did The Ringer perform? If you check out the video below, you’ll see that it is damn near sorcery. I honestly couldn’t believe how quickly my cast iron came clean.
In my experience, The Ringer worked much better than the Knapp chain mail cleaner (which is still a good product), and I attribute this both to the greater surface area of The Ringer as well as it’s smaller chain weave. If I had any complaint about The Ringer, it would be about the little logo “dog tag” that is attached to it and rattles a fair bit as you are cleaning your pans. It’s a petty quibble, I admit.
It’s worth noting that even after I clean my cast iron, I still give it a fine cleaning/seasoning using coarse Kosher salt, some neutral oil and a paper towel.
The official site for The Ringer is www.cleaningcastiron.com
And you can order it from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FKBR1ZG